The Challenge of Another Adventure Race – Leanna

One month after having Zach, my 4th child, a friend asked if I would be ready in 5 more months to do a 6 hours adventure race. I was feeling well at that stage and October seemed like such a long time away. I convinced myself that it would be good to have an exercise goal to help with winter motivation, to get me out the door in the dark, windy nights and get myself fit again. I was part of the BIA team we put into the Whangamata Adventure Race last year and loved it -….how hard could this be?!?!


Im hoping I can spend more time on my feet this time

Gemma, Kiely and I proceeded to enter the first North Island SPRING CHALLENGE. We are a 3-women team in a 6 hour race where we have to hike, mountain bike and raft our way through a set route, navigating control points in a numerical order using maps and a compass around Rotorua. Our husbands are our support crew. My husband has the extra challenge of looking after our son Zach (who will be almost 6 months) for the day, timing his sleeps so he can meet up with me at a few stages as I hope to fit in some feeds along the way. FUN!!!

With my husband leaving for work early and not home till after dark, 2 school kids, a kindy kid for 2 days, a baby whom I am still breastfeeding and a physiotherapy business I need to manage, the reality of fitting in the training has not been so easy! The wind trainer in the cold garage gets the odd attention and the head torch comes out of the drawer sometimes for a night run around the block. I have to book my exercise in the weekends amongst family time so I can go for a bit longer between breastfeeds and kids sport. It will all be worth it come October!

I called my friend and old university flat mate, Sarah Fairmaid who is a seasoned adventure racer for some top tips. Sarah is a hard person to pin down so it was no surprise to me that we chatted about her thoughts whilst she was out fitting a day of mountain biking in while her daughters were at school. She has raced abroad on a number of occasions and has children so understands the challenges of returning to sport and fitting everything into her week. One of Sarah’s most satisfying achievements was being part of a 3 female, 1 male adventure racing team competing at Lake Tahoe for the world champs and taking out the win.


Sarah during Godzone this year racing as part of the Cure Kids team.

Sarah’s top tips are;

  • Surrounding yourself with other like-minded mums. They make it more fun when you are out and totally ‘get’ where you are at any given stage
  • Keep your watch and any other analytical devices in the drawer and just enjoy being out exercising. Do not be tempted to get them out!!
  • Remember that while you are breastfeeding your hormone levels are not back to normal and so you wont have the same capacity as pre baby.
  • Accept that there will be significant strength loss during the time you weren’t training which will be a major contributor to slower times and less endurance.
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of mental tiredness you get from having kids and running a household which also takes its toll on your training.
  • Enjoy every moment you get to train again
  • Give yourself a break!

So – I am making the most of the opportunities I get to train and am nervously
excited about the challenge of race day in a few weeks!!! Watch this space.